Learning a language can be extremely rewarding, and it's a skill that'll serve you well throughout your entire lifetime. Getting to grips with a brand-new language, however, is no easy feat, but there are many innovative apps out there that can help. Whether you're already on your way to becoming fluent and would like to find new ways to learn, or you're about to start a new language from scratch, make sure you check out our top language app picks below. Whether it's German, French, Japanese or even Latin, there’s sure to be a language app out there for everyone.
Available on: iOS and Android
Price: Free 7-day trial, then £9.99 per month.
Babbel has been around for many years, since launching in 2008. The app has already successfully taught millions of users another language, and thanks to its intelligent approach to learning it remains popular to this day.
Babbel sets out to help you speak like a native, engaging you in dialogue right from the start - rather than purely focusing on things like grammatical rules and set words. You'll pick up skills you can use right away, and learn useful conversation phrases that'll grow in complexity as you progress through the app. Interestingly, Babbel tailors its teaching to each individual user too - it'll ask you your native language when you sign up, and identify similarities between your primary language and the new language you'd like to learn, to make your learning more effective. For example, you'll skip over words that appear in both languages, and won't focus too heavily on grammatical concepts that are already present in your native tongue.
You can only learn one language at a time with Babbel, and there are over 14 to choose from. Options include Spanish, English, Polish, Swedish and more, and you'll be taught through a series of short courses. Across the entire platform, there are over 60,000 individual lessons to experience, and each lesson has a level assigned to it - you can skip past particular lessons if you're not a beginner, or repeat lessons to really get to grips with the basics.
Babbel is free for the first seven days, so you can try out the app to see if it suits you before signing up for a paid subscription. There are a number of competitive subscriptions available, with the cheapest being the annual subscription which costs £57.00 a year (£4.75 per month). Other options include a monthly subscription, quarterly subscription and bi-annual subscription. No matter which subscription you choose, you will be granted full access to all available courses for your chosen language and the Review section, as well as the option to pick up where you left off on multiple devices.
Available on: iOS and Android
Price: Free, with in-app purchases.
If you're looking for more variety, consider Duolingo. With over 300 million users worldwide, the app has been well received by learners of all levels, and you can choose from any of the 23 languages currently available on the app - including Chinese, Japanese, English, Greek and Latin.
Duolingo aims to make learning a new language simple and fun. Bite-sized lessons make new vocabulary easy to digest, and each lesson is designed like a mini-game to ensure your learning never feels like a chore. It will intelligently analyse your learning style as you progress through the app, adapting the content of your lessons to ensure it compliments your individual learning style.
The app is packed full of features to help you track your progress and stay motivated. You'll be able to see your personal fluency score every time you use the app, and new and exciting levels can be unlocked the more you use it. You'll also be awarded gems (also known as Lingots, depending on whether you're using iOS, Android or the web version of Duolingo), which can be exchanged for a range of in-app benefits from the Shop, such as streak wagers, heart refills and more.
Duolingo is always completely free, no matter how long you use it for. You do have an option to sign up for Duolingo Plus however, if you'd like to tap into additional features such as offline learning, a more in-depth progress tracker, streak repair and an ad-free experience. A free 7-day trial is available for new users, and afterwards Duolingo Plus costs £12.49 for one month, £45.99 for 6 months or £75.99 for 12 months.
Available on: iOS and Android
Price: Free, with in-app purchases available
With its colourful, playful interface, Drops offers something a little bit different to traditional e-learning apps. You'll be limited to just five minutes of learning a day, which is designed to avoid overstimulation and encourage effective learning.
Drops can be used to learn over 30 different languages, including Dutch, Russian, Arabic and Japanese. When you download the app, you'll be able to view the full list of available languages, and select whether you're a beginner or intermediate learner, to ensure lessons are at a level that matches your capabilities.
Drops uses a selection of different methods to teach users, and includes mnemonics, fun visuals and fast-paced games. Courses such as Japanese will help you master a different alphabet too, with specific lessons on new writing systems. Lessons are also split into categories, such as Food and Drink, Travel Talk, Foundation, and City and Shops. We recommend kicking off with the Foundation section to get a hold of the basics, before exploring the topics you're most interested in. Particular lessons will also remain locked until you've completed others, so you won't encounter anything that's currently too advanced for you.
Drops is free to use, and available for both iOS and Android. If you'd like to experience the app with no adds and no time limitations, you can sign up for Drops Premium instead. Drops Premium costs just £8.49 a month, £59.99 a year or you can make a one-off payment of £179.99 for lifetime access.
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